I was very interested in reading this book for several reasons. First, because I really love Anne Tyler and secondly, because we are close friends with multiple couples pursuing overseas adoptions, of both infants and older children. I found in this story that Anne went deeper than the adopted children trying to make a home in America, in fact, their story was almost a side note. What Anne wrote about more was how people who are already Americans, whether by immigration or by birth, make themselves at home in this strange and sometimes frightening country we call home. What is family and culture and how do we respect them, how do we keep them, in this place where all are welcome but no one is quite sure how to fit in. Do we hang on to what makes us comfortable even when there may be nothing there to warm us? Or do we step out into a new world where those we love may not talk like us or look like us but take up residence in our lives just the same?
I have read several people who have not enjoyed this novel very much, but I loved it. In a world that is becoming more, rather than less, segregated by culture which may or may not include nationality, how do we reach out? And whom do we let in? And most importantly, what are we afraid of losing when we do?